New York lesbian couple Ming and Kate Linsley have reached a settlement in their lawsuit against the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville, Vt., which had refused to host the couple’s wedding reception in 2005.
The Wildflower Inn has agreed to pay the Vermont Human Rights Commission a $10,000 civil penalty and to donate $20,000 to a charitable trust, the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the women, announced Thursday, according to the Associated Press. The operators of the country inn also said the business will no longer host weddings and receptions.
Jim Campbell, a lawyer with the with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative group that represented the inn, said the lawsuit arose because a misinformed former employee sent an email to Ming Linsley’s mother refusing to host the reception request due to the owners’ Catholic faith.
A statement from the Alliance reads, "A former Wildflower employee sparked the lawsuit when she falsely claimed that the inn would not allow a same-sex reception. The inn's actual business practice, which the Vermont Human Rights Commission approved in 2005, was to honestly disclose its owners' religious convictions to potential customers while agreeing to serve everyone in accordance with the law."
Ming and Kate Linsley released a statement through the ACLU expressing satisfaction with the settlement. "We're glad that the Wildflower Inn has recognized that the way we were treated was wrong and that no other family will have to experience what we did," they said. "Although we found a different location and had a beautiful day, all families should feel welcome at any resort that's open to the public."